Moscow As The Melting Pot Of The East
13 October, 2016
Moscow As The Melting Pot Of The East
Time flies, and before you know it is time to leave the melting pot and go back home. I do not have many homes away from home, but Moscow surely makes it on the list. It has become really close to my heart.
Learning Russian in Moscow, using it on daily basis, is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I have to admit, I hesitated at first because it is Moscow – a city with 20 million people, completely unfamiliar and outside my comfort zone. I was convinced it will be completely different from everything I am used to. However, I was in for a surprise.
This city is the melting pot of the Eastern world. It is vibrant, and it breathes life filled with energy that blows your mind. Options are limitless. Everyone can find their own piece of heaven in this city. Everything is so familiar and “European” but at the same time completely russianized. As my Russian improved, I was more confident in exploring everything Moscow has to offer.
One thing I would do differently is that I would do more research! Because Moscow can be very overwhelming, before you arrive, take some time and decide what would you like to see around the city. After all, the day has only 24 hours, and in Moscow, every minute counts. I come from a city of 300 000 people, and almost, the entire population of my country – close to 6 million, passes through Moscow metro every day. I wasn’t prepared for that. The key is to be flexible.
Bring a mix of clothing if you are coming in August and staying until November like I am. August is hot and starting September, the weather starts to be cold. It is best to bring some sweaters and warmer jacket as well, so that you won’t have to wear everything you have at the same time to stay warm in October. Shoes for the rain are a must, and an umbrella – even a hat won’t hurt in October. Melting pot is a cold place.
My favourite places
1st stop, in order to get a feel for the longevity of Russian history, is the famous State Tretyakov Gallery where you can witness centuries of Russian history in art and sculpture. The riches of the empire, emperors and empresses; but at the same time, the cruel poverty many people faced during their lifetime. Without even noticing, you can spend hours relishing in magnificent details artists have saved on their canvas. This museum reminded me of how the world was interconnected, even then. We are more similar than we think.
Coffee shops and People
I am a digital enthusiast, I love everything that has to do with the digital realm. Start up community in Moscow is blooming. The likelihood of meeting likeminded people is much greater than I imagined. You have to live it, it cannot be put in words. Because the city is so vibrant and filled with energy, it is easy to find an inspiring place to work. For example, Ziferblat Cafe (Циферблат) is a located in Tverskaya street, very close to the school – and, it is special because it is a cafe where you feel you are in a hip, shared flat. You can bring your own food and drinks, and you pay by the hour you stay there. There is unlimited amount of espresso coffee prepared by a barista, there is also tea and cookies galore for free. People come to work, hang out or just read. It is a perfect place for anyone working online. After going there for a while, I’ve met several very interesting people – and the majority is Russian, so I have a chance to practice my Russian as well. The energy flows, opportunities are all around us, and all you need to do is tap in.
As girly as this may sound, I love Moscow shopping opportunities. Europeysky has fantastic decorations every season; making it one of the most stunning shopping mall with eight floors and atriums named after five European capitals: central one is named Moscow, and the others are Paris, Berlin, Rome and London. Therefore, if you ever feel you want to visit Europe (with shiny lights) in Moscow – this is the place to go! Needless to say, it houses every brand that could ever come to your mind. Window shopping, actually shopping or just strolling around the mall observing consumers rushing through the halls in and out of the shops with or without bags. The overall sensation is excitement, and the power of marketing is visible on every corner. Some shopping malls even host exhibitions. It is truly and entertainment complex.
What you think Russia is, and what is the reality
To conclude, Russia is not a closed off, communist country any more! Before my arrival, everyone I told I will be going to Russia for a couple of months looked at me in surprise – why Russia?! Overall, It is a growing economy, it is worldly and rich in opportunities. It is one of the four largest emerging markets, with a ‘well-behaved inflation’ according to Morgan Stanley economists. Night life, shopping, historic and contemporary art, culture, entrepreneurship, parks – you name it – Moscow has it all! Learning Russian in Moscow, in Liden & Denz, is in my top three life changing experiences thus far. The confidence I gained speaking Russian is priceless, compared to my first day and today – 3 months later, I am far away from perfect but people understand me and I understand them. I can write, read and comprehend better and I am motivated to learn more!
Hence, my reply to the question ‘Why Russia?’ is: Because you have an opportunity to learn in an amazing environment, and break out of your comfort zone defying stereotypes and actually experiencing first hand what Russia is and why you can’t help but fall in love with it.
This blog was brought to you by Maja, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz